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If a tree falls on my house from my neighbor's yard, who pays for the damage?

If the tree damaged your house, then you should file a claim with your home insurance company. Home insurance covers damage from falling trees to structures covered under the policy. Typically, a homeowners policy also covers the cost to remove the tree if it damaged your property.

However, if the tree did not cause damage to your house, then home insurance does not pay for its removal. Standard home insurance generally does not cover damage to trees and shrubs themselves--only the damage they cause covered property.

Falling trees are a common hazard in the winter due to heavy snow and ice storms, but they can also wreak havoc in the spring when thunderstorms produce high winds.

If a fallen tree damages your house, report the damage as soon as possible to your insurance agent or company to settle the claim quickly. Take pictures of the damaged property, and make a list of everything you want to show the insurance adjuster, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America says. Do what you safely can to protect your home from further damage by covering any openings the tree created. Keep receipts of anything you buy to do short-term emergency repairs.

If a tree falls on your car, you can file a claim with your car insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects against damage caused by factors other than traffic accidents, such as natural disasters, theft and vandalism.

Keep in mind you'll need to pay your insurance deductible for any claim you file for damage from a fallen tree.

Last updated: Jun. 10, 2011